By Devaan Hammation Mom
The tragic and sudden demise of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, fondly known to his legion of fans as Mohbad, has been a jolting reminder of the vulnerability of life. However, the tumultuous events that have unfolded in its wake speak volumes about the shadows that still loom over the cultural fabric of Nigeria.
In the aftermath of the musician’s mysterious death, his partner, Omowunmi Awonuga, has found herself caught in the eye of a storm that rages with allegations, assumptions, and speculations. Disturbing footages and narratives across social media hint at the Mohbad’s family’s efforts to seize his property from Omowunmi. An even more unsettling aspect is the rise of unfounded claims amplified by certain figures on social media, casting doubts on the paternity of Omowunmi’s child, insisting on paternity tests and even insinuating her potential involvement in the tragic event.
Such situations, although distressing, aren’t unique to Omowunmi. They echo the toxic widowhood practices deeply entrenched in parts of Nigeria, where grieving women, already battling with immeasurable loss, confront additional indignities, persecution and even humiliation.
However, the silver lining in this tragic tale comes from unexpected quarters. With the foreign press picking up the story, the incident has garnered intense international attention. Many globally renowned music stars, including Meek Mill, Lil Durk, and Kodak Black, have not only paid their respects to the late rapper but are also clamoring for a thorough and just investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Their voices join the chorus of concerned Nigerians, a powerful testament to Mohbad’s impact and the universal demand for justice. In an encouraging turn of events, the Nigeria Police has responded to the outcry. The recent exhumation of Mohbad’s corpse, followed by an autopsy, signifies the earnestness of the investigative process.
Yet, it isn’t merely about solving a high-profile case. This moment serves as a mirror reflecting Nigeria’s deep-seated societal issues. While the global community watches closely, Nigeria stands at a crossroads. It is an opportunity to not only uphold justice for the deceased and his loved ones but also to address and repudiate the malevolent widowhood practices that have plagued our culture for too long.
In this dark hour, there are beacons of hope and solidarity. Acclaimed actress Tonto Dike’s generous pledge of financial support for Omowunmi and her baby sets a precedent that should resonate throughout our society. Another stalwart supporter, actress Iyabo Ojo, has stood firmly by Omowunmi, embodying the unity and compassion that is the need of the hour. The spirit behind these ladies’ support highlight the essence of the Nigerian woman – standing up against prejudice and rallying around our own.
It is worth noting that at the heart of this maelstrom is Omowunmi – a grieving young lady, said to be just 24 years old. She now grapples with not only the loss of her loved one but also an onslaught of unfounded accusations and insinuations. Her ordeal underscores the urgent need for reform in our societal attitudes and practices. The international interest in this matter further reinforces that the world is watching, and the way we handle this will undoubtedly shape Nigeria’s image on the global stage.
It is high time we, as a nation, acknowledge the insidious nature of our traditional widowhood practices. By standing with Omowunmi, supporting her, and ensuring that justice is served, we can send a powerful message that Nigeria is ready to evolve and protect the rights and dignity of its women.
As a concerned Nigerian woman, I fervently hope that this tragic event serves as a catalyst for change. Our collective consciousness, both as Nigerians and global citizens, should be channelled towards challenging and eliminating age-old customs that victimize women in their most vulnerable moments.
This is our moment. It is our opportunity to transform a storm of tragedy into a movement of unity, compassion, and progress. It is a chance to show the world, and more importantly, ourselves, that Nigeria stands united against unjust practices, echoing the sentiments of global icons who have shown their support. In the name of justice, progress, and humanity, let’s seize it.
▪︎ Mom is a concerned Nigerian citizen and public commentator.